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Scattered Shadows: A Memoir of Blindness and Vision

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Scattered Shadows: A Memoir of Blindness and Vision

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
These posthumous memoirs, arranged by Robert Bonazzi, focus on the years between 1945, when Griffin (1920-1980) began to lose his sight due to an injury he received during WWII, and 1957, when he recovered it a decade during which he virtually lived several lives. At the book's center is Griffin's journey from a wanderer who "could no more fix my attention lovingly on God than I could on the wallpaper of the room" to a Catholic convert for whom faith "replaced logic, erasing the need for further proof." Around that center, Griffin traverses the emotional and physical distance between the implications of being legally blind and the reality of blindness, which "presented a thousand roadblocks." Readers learn how Griffin managed to raise livestock, fall in love and marry, and write the controversial 1952 novel The Devil Rides Outside. The author's previous lives had encompassed a scholarly devotion to medieval music and an activist involvement in the French Resistance. Black Like Me, his 1961 bestselling account of his trip through the South posing as a black man, was yet to come. Drawing on Griffin's journals, manuscripts and previously published work, Bonazzi's collection pays an almost too-reverent homage to a remarkable individual. As journal excerpts come to dominate, dulling minutiae invade. Yet Griffin's spiritual journey remains moving, and his way with words renders the austerity of an abbey as vividly as the cacophony of a battleground, an evening with a nameless blind man as fascinating as one with a renowned poet. (June) Forecast: Although Griffin's fame rests with Black Like Me, he penned several later religious books. Readers of those works might want to pick this up. Orbis is a member of the Catholic Press Association and should be able to reach a religious audience. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Griffin (1920-80) here chronicles the extraordinary ordeal of losing his sight owing to a war injury, adjusting to blindness, and then unexpectedly regaining his vision ten years later. While giving us unsentimental insight into the "different, more complex and often more vital life" of the blind, Griffin also shares a spiritual journey that parallels his physical challenges. Griffin is best known for his classic Black Like Me, which recounts his experiences after chemically altering his skin color and living as a black man in the Deep South in 1959. In his new book, whose events predate those of his best seller, he also describes dealing with the ramifications of being treated differently because of a physical condition. Griffin is at his best when detailing the preparations he made for the predicted vision loss, observing that "experience for the writer is in many ways an attitude of mind. It is the ability to feel adventure in the smallest things of life." In embracing his adventure, Griffin cuts to the heart of what it means to be human and poignantly reminds us that vision and sight are not synonymous. Recommended for both general and special collections.-Sheila Peiffer, Acad. of the Holy Names, Albany, NY Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781570755392
  • Publisher: Orbis Books
  • Publication date: 5/28/2004
  • Pages: 240
  • Sales rank: 1,129,604
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Table of Contents

Introduction 9
Prologue: Adventure-Prone 17
I Shadows 21
II Blindness 113
III Vision 213
Acknowledgments 229
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